My alarm went off fifteen minutes later and I woke up to see beautiful sunshine flooding our side of the mountain, filling the room with light and the mountain with refracted reflections.
We went for a walk in the crisp (read very cold) morning air climbing the mountain to the end of the road. Although the altitude is probably not the highest the air is very thin and clean and fresh. Not something our city lungs are used to! We walked far enough to give us time to get back to the warm bread our hostess promised us for nine o’clock, and met Edu and Simryn in the breakfast room when they came back from their walk.
After a delicious breakfast of muesli and yoghurt, fruit, cold meats, cheese and lovely fresh kings cross buns. (Apparently some king liked having a cross pattern on his bread rolls, so they were made that way for him, and have been made that way ever since!
Although not winter, the ski lift works on good weathered Saturdays, so we paid the E8 to get from ski lift 3 to the top of the mountain. It was such a gorgeous experience. Going up we just had the mountain in front of us, and beautiful as it was, it wasn’t spectacular except for a few parts where we could see lakes and villages over the tops and between the branches of trees. Once we dismounted, gracefully of course (!), we spent about an hour walking around the top of the mountain, first to the Swartsee, a black lake nestled in a dip right at the top, then in the opposite direction to a plateau near the edge. The plateau had strange and beautiful rocks, shining with silver scale like layers that clumped together made the rocks. It’s hard to explain, but yet another thing I’ll be looking up when I’m back in the land of freely available internet. The rocks shone stunningly against the sun and we guessed would do the same under a full moon. We admired the vista for a while, looking up at the blue mountains higher up and further away, and dreaming about the kinds of houses we would build for ourselves high up away from the rest of the world.
The journey back down the mountain was nothing short of spectacular. The view was astounding, crisp and clear and beautiful. We could see for miles up and down mountains and valleys, lakes near and far, villages dotted far as we could see, and some closer ones with their church steeples standing out stark and white against an amazing green backdrop. We reached the bottom of ski lift three (gracefully again, of course) and agreed our exceedingly well spent time.
Back in the car, we drove for Grundlesee.
When we were planning the holiday, we each chose destinations that we wanted included in the holiday. These became known as our non-negotiables. For Simryn it was Lake Como and Florence, Edu’s was Andalucia, Martin’s was the Bernina Express and Oktoberfest and mine were Sintra and Grundlesee, so I was very excited.
The drive through Austria is constantly stunning. There is nothing ugly, nothing dull and any and every conversation can be and was interrupted with jubilant or awestruck cries of ‘look there’ or “wow”! Waterfalls, snow capped mountains, beautiful houses, castles or other structures, valleys, clouds anything you can think of when you imagine Austria.
We arrived in Obertraun around 15:00 and went immediately to the nearest shopping centre, about half an hour away as we were told that everything closes at 18:00 and doesn’t open on Sunday. As we are staying in a self catering place, that would have been a problem! We went to the Spar and ended up spending E55 on 5 meals for 4 people! Not too bad!
We arrived back in Obertraun, the only place close to Grundlesee that we could afford, basically, to a lovely two bedroom apartment with gorgeous mountain views in a quaint and picturesque village. It was raining, the clouds were hanging very low and it was very very cold, so upon discovering a dvd player in our lounge and the owner’s dvd collection, we decided that that would be a good way to spend our Saturday evening: a bottle of wine, a dvd and some popcorn. I cooked a goulash type stew with baked potatoes and we spent our evening watching Charlie Bartlett and The Bucket List before another very quiet, peaceful and thankfully warm night’s sleep!